AMN Reviews: Anguish – Anguish (2018; RareNoiseRecords)

As music labels go, RareNoiseRecords deserves a medal of bravery. Their modus operandi seems to include heavy doses of combining groups of people that no one else ever thought of combining. The result has been some very interesting releases over the years, favorites of which include partnering of noise, free-improv, industrial, rock, and jazz musicians. Here, they take another step forward with Anguish – putting together members of experimental hip-hop group Dalek, free-jazz aficionados Fire! Orchestra, and Krautrock pioneers Faust. Not only does the quintet meld well, in this self-titled release they have created a dark and cynical commentary on today’s socio-economic dystopias.

Personnel-wise, we have vocalist and electronic musician Will Brooks, guitarist / synthesist Mike Mare, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, drummer Andreas Werliin, and keyboardist Hans Joachim Irmler. An interesting lineup no doubt, but not as disjointed as it may seem. Brooks and Mare were influenced by Irmler’s Faust, as well as the industrial music that derived therefrom.  And Gustafsson once again proves that he can adapt his style to play with anyone.

Running between two and eight minutes in length, the nine tracks include atmospheric improvisations, but mostly are song-length diatribes with repetitive (though often complex) beat patterns, sax wailing, and plenty of tension. Gustafsson, in particular, is plaintive and emotional, while Irmler’s contributions are haunting. The first, fifth, and seventh tracks are short instrumental interludes, and sound at least partially improvised.  These are the most “outside” parts of the album.

The remaining songs angrily explore the darker side of urban and societal decay. Brooks speaks, raps, and sings the lyrics with earnestness. He makes observations using coarse language – guns, alcohol, drugs, pregnancy, hopelessness, and a lost generation – all controversial topics are game (see below for a sample). The effectiveness of his message is punctuated by Irmler’s distorted contributions, Gustafsson’s warbling combined with Mare’s keening and screaming guitar-work, as well as the group’s Krautrock-infected driving rhythms.

This is intelligent protest music that is timely and falls within a category of its own. Highly recommended.

…nostrils plugged with the funk of dreamless men
tripping over the length of their lives
scripted with a pitchfork at the edge of flame
the place where they came together is the place where they fell apart
they look at each other in the void of cracked eggs
chanting the pledge of allegiance to a pitbull with a billy club
on an ocean of crack vials and uzi shells
planned parenthood discussed in a think tank
Hitler became an American citizen
and hope floats in an empty pack of Kools
sailing down a gutter river of 5 million 40oz bottles of malt liquor
filtered through the bladder of a ghost…

Chicago Scene: November 17-24, 2018

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Saturday, November 17th 2018

7:00PM at the Logan Center Performance Penthouse, 915 E 60th, 773.702.ARTS
The Bridge #15
Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Didier Petit, Edward Perraud

8:00PM at Graham Foundation (Madlener House), 4 W Burton Pl (Free, RSVP)
Madalyn Merkey

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
23rd Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival 2018
Francis Wong’s “Legends and Legacies” : Francis Wong, William Roper, Mwata Bowden, Edward Wilkerson Jr, Tatsu Aoki, Melody Takata, Kioto Aoki
Mai Sugimoto’s “Born/Raised” : Mai Sugimoto, Quentin Coaxum, Katie Ernst, Charles Rumback

9:00PM at the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia, 773.227.4433 ($10)
Sarah Davachi
Jon Mueller
Gordon Ashworth

Sunday, November 18th 2018

12:00PM at Diasporal Rhythms, 4301 S Ellis, Suite 207
Didier Petit, Angel Bat Dawid

7:00PM at Woodland Pattern, 720 E Locust, Milwaukee WI, 414.263.5001 ($10)
The Bridge #15
Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Didier Petit, Edward Perraud

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont ($10 suggested donation) (wheelchair-accessible)
Russ Johnson, Max Johnson, Tim Daisy

Monday, November 19th 2018

7:00PM at Agitator Gallery, 1112 N Ashland
Didier Petit, Keefe Jackson

7:00PM at Colvin House, 5940 N Sheridan ($35)
Manipulating Time
Edward Perraud with Sean Masterson

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Jim Baker, Mars Williams, Zoots Houston, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt

Tuesday, November 20th 2018

5:00PM at the Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S Stony Island, 312.857.5561
The Bridge #15 : Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Didier Petit, Edward Perraud, with BRAVEMONK Haywood, Kelsa Robinson

9:00PM at the Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia, 773.227.4433 ($10)
The Bridge #15 : Josh Berman, Jason Stein, Didier Petit, Edward Perraud
The Few : Macie Stewart, Charlie Kirchen, Steve Marquette

Saturday, November 24th 2018

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($10)
Jason Roebke, Josh Berman, Ben Lamar Gay

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:,,,,,,,,,,,

Jazzword Reviews 

Source: Jazzword.

Mads la Cour’s Almugi

Devin Gray
Dirigo Rataplan II

A Pearl in Dirty Hands

Rich Halley 3
The Literature

Daniel Carter/Hillard Greene/David Haney
Live Constructions

The Open Secret: John Butcher/Gino Robair/Dieb 13
Geography for Plays

Blume/De Joode/Butcher
Low Yellow


Newsbits: Eliane Radigue Box Set / Tyshawn Sorey Reviewed / Adventures in Sound / New Braxton

Ina-GRM is releasing a 14-disc box set of the works of Eliane Radigue.

JazzTimes reviews the new 3-CD set from Tyshawn Sorey.

Burning Ambulance reviews the Adventures in Sound 3-CD box, which focuses on electroacoustic composers of that genre’s classic era.

A new Anthony Braxton recording is out, this one a collaboration with Taylor Ho Bynum and Bob Bresnan.